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Financial reality check...


mstreck

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I posted in the other thread about our blown amps. I asked the band to replace the blown amps and two people were more than willing, but one person is holding out. That forced me into a reality check: the bottom line is that Amy and I can't afford to keep the band PA going. Using the lowest prices that I could find online (for used and B-stock), the replacement cost for our current PA is approximately $5466.98 (including the two blown amps). That's a lowball price and doesn't include the monitors that we use at practice or our drummer's driverack. In short, I need to get out from under the PA debt that keeps piling up and I need to sell what I have so we'll need to come up with a PA to use for shows.

 

Assuming we're going to keep the band going, here are some options that I've come up with - you may have some ideas as well... feedback is appreciated!

 

Option #1) Turn the band into a true business, with us all being invested. The "band" can buy the PA from Amy and I. Everyone will pitch in 20% of the replacement cost and and we'll all own it.

 

Option #2) Treat the band as a business and everyone pitches in to buy a better (powered) system - probably for less money than Option #1 - and I'll sell off what I have now. We'll still need to buy monitor amps.

 

Option #3) Rent a PA for every show. That will knock a minimum of $200-$300 of the top and we'll go home with less money at the end of the night, but we won't have a large initial investment and won't have to worry about a PA at all - as long as our dates don't conflict with whoever would be providing the PA. We'll also have to kick our soundman to the curb.

 

If we choose option #1 or #2, the band will be responsible for upkeep and equipment replacement, so my suggestion would be to take a cut from each gig and put it in a band account to fund repairs, replacement cables, etc. We'll also have to decide how to "buy out" someone who quits or gets fired, etc. - but I think I have a few friends who have those things worked out. ;)

 

I vote for Option 2, but I'm going to let it up to the band to decide what we're going to do. I'll be listing everything on Craigslist by the end of March unless the band buys it. That's a good three months notice and I think that's more than fair, yes?

 

It may turn out that all three options get rejected and the band just breaks up. If that's the case, Amy and I are prepared to do something else that we can afford - after I sell off the PA, of course.

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the reality seems to be that you need to just replace the amps and keep on chuggin. Its prolly your cheapest option. How much will that cost you? to be honest I would never go in on a group purchase for gear. I would be more apt to just buy a component to get the band running and own the thing myself.

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the reality seems to be that you need to just replace the amps and keep on chuggin. Its prolly your cheapest option. How much will that cost you? to be honest I would never go in on a group purchase for gear. I would be more apt to just buy a component to get the band running and own the thing myself.

 

 

That's what I would like to do, but I really can't. At this point, someone else needs to take on the financial responsibility for the PA.

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That's what I would like to do, but I really can't. At this point, someone else needs to take on the financial responsibility for the PA.

 

 

I am afraid mike that since amy is the singer ,, and its your band ,, that would be you. your best option is to just tell someone on the band that has a few extra bucks that if they buy the amps to get it up and running you an amy will hand over your splits to pay him back on the next gigs.

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I wouldnt do a group buy or rent a system. Although its not nearly the best for the long run id get a couple of cheaper power amps and upgrade later. You said that the Behr lasted 3 years so thats basically a cost of like $100 a year to use it which is not bad at all. I know its not the coolest power amp out there but if you do buy the Behr you can start putting money away for some better stuff, still have the band going and without any of the drama that happens with group buys, and in the end have the system you want.

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We did the band owned thing and it was a PITA (and we've been lucky). I know of two bands where a band member quit and took some gear with them. One quit during a show. He left and took an amp and EQ with him. Now I own all the gear and the gear gets an even cut from the gigs. The guys don't mind because they don't have to deal with the system and now that it's paid itself off, I make a nice profit. Actually, the gear cut goes towards band expenses like replacement gear and recording time. It still goes to me and I get the tax write off (or payment) depending on the year. So if we make $1000 for the night, $250 goes to each of us (3 piece) and $250 goes towards the gear. My system was a bit bigger and ran around $18,000 new. If you are talking $3,000 you might be able to get enough by creating a PA split and just rent the two amps and use your existing gear until enough is saved for the new system. Take the rental cost for the two amps off the top and do even splits for the members and PA.

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We did the band owned thing and it was a PITA (and we've been lucky). I know of two bands where a band member quit and took some gear with them. One quit during a show. He left and took an amp and EQ with him. Now I own all the gear and the gear gets an even cut from the gigs. The guys don't mind because they don't have to deal with the system and now that it's paid itself off, I make a nice profit. Actually, the gear cut goes towards band expenses like replacement gear and recording time. It still goes to me and I get the tax write off (or payment) depending on the year. So if we make $1000 for the night, $250 goes to each of us (3 piece) and $250 goes towards the gear. My system was a bit bigger and ran around $18,000 new. If you are talking $3,000 you might be able to get enough by creating a PA split and just rent the two amps and use your existing gear until enough is saved for the new system. Take the rental cost for the two amps off the top and do even splits for the members and PA.

 

 

I could live with that. I'll present that as an option. Thanks!

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I was going to say, you neglected the (likely) most logical option if you have 2 members who refuse to put any $ in:

 

You buy the PA (or you and whomever else buy it jointly), and for every gig where that PA is used, a set amount per show cut is given to the owners for rental on that gear OFF THE TOP before anybody else gets paid.

 

Make it cost somewhat less than renting out-right from another source, but worth more than just wear and tear on the gear. It would cost $00-300 to rent elsewhere? Then the band pays $150-200 minimum for the PA you buy each and every show.

Or hell, make your rental cut equal to going third party, as you'll guarantee the PA is always available whenever needed, etc.

 

I wouldn't be negative to band members who couldn't carry an equal financial burden. Sometimes, that's the way things are.

But those individuals better recognize that if SOMEONE covers more than a fair share, SOMEONE is getting paid back/first.

 

Don't like it? Walk.

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Don't like it? Walk.

 

 

Yeah, I think it's coming to that. Something (else) has to give.

 

I really like the even cut option. No one would really feel the hit, it would still give us all a larger share than if we rented a PA, and we'd have money set aside in case of emergencies and upgrading will be a lot easier.

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So far four of us are in favor of giving the PA an even cut. Haven't heard from the 5th yet, but I'm not sure if that even matters at this point.

 

 

Yeah, there is always one in the bunch who isn't as gung-ho about losing their share of the money than the others. That will spill over into other areas and it's more likely than not that whatever method you decide to go, they are going to be on their way out...which is probably something you are already expecting, right?

 

I'm going through something similar, but not really (not really being I don't have to replace power amps....yet). After talking with the bandmembers, my attempts to turn the band into a one-for-all-and-all-for-one situation did not work. They are fine with helping with PA/lights setup and teardown, but refuse to invest at all in anything (not even a light can here or there). So, I will be taking a larger cut to pay for maintenance and replacement of gear in 2012. If one of them balks and walks (and I have a feeling he might), I'm prepared for that possibility.

 

The fact of the matter is that without someone bringing a PA system (and lights), there would be no show and none of us would be making any money. I'm doing the typical bandleader thing of booking the gigs, running sound, doing promo, etc. all while fronting the band and playing a couple of instruments. I bought my stuff new on purpose because I wanted to be the only one who had used and abused the speakers. I'm also usually the only one hooking things up for that same reason. I don't want to have to worry about if something is on its way out already because I bought it cheap, but have no idea how much the thing has gone through before it got to me.

 

Obviously, renting a PA from a sound company for bar gigs would be extremely cost prohibitive, but so is shouldering all the responsibility for the gear. I have plans to get a MixWiz in the near future (within the next two months) as well as another subwoofer, some power amps and a lot more lights. I now know that no one but me is going to shell out any money for it on their own, so where does that leave me? Taking it off the top. So, I'll be doing just that, but it will be a set percentage every gig. I didn't care for my amount of money changing every gig at the bandleaders' whim in a past band, so I will be consistent with everyone's share every gig, even if we are dealing with quarters, dimes and nickels to make sure they get their full percentage. I'd rather be fair and consistent that way then deal with grumbling about being "ripped off" when in actuality, I have been taking a smaller share all along.

 

Anyway, I hope you guys can work it all out. It would be a shame for all of your hard work to go to waste after being booked (and over-booked!). Good luck, Mike!

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Best bet is to be the "Leader" and buy the PA. Then take an extra cut for the PA/Leadership duties.

 

 

+1. Work on being able to get good gigs and having good gear, and take an uneven split. This is going to be hard to do in the bar scene if you're playing for $400 a night, but it's pretty easy when the dollar figures are over $1000 on the wedding, private party, corporate scene. If you're booking gigs, lugging (and having) PA and lights, dealing with clients, etc., you deserve to get paid more.

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I was in a band once where the leader owned the PA and charged 10% off the top per gig as a rental fee. He wanted an even cut but we negotiated this arrangement with the condition that we all help in set-up and tear-down. If someone couldn't help with set-up or tear down for a particular gig, he had to pay everyone else to do his part. It worked well.

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Best bet is to be the "Leader" and buy the PA. Then take an extra cut for the PA/Leadership duties.

 

+1 for this. Mike is already handling all the leadership duties. He should, IMO, buy the PA and take full charge. If you're running a great band, no one cares if you're the "pointless second guitarist". :lol:

 

But I DO understand that purchasing a full PA on your own is much easier said than done.

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I too own the PA. When I do sound for other venues, the price ranges from $260 - $300 a night. With my band I charge them $100. They all help me load it in and out, thought I do all the wiring myself. I know how I like it done, I do up the cords over/under etc etc. $100 is more of a token amount, but like I said they all help.

 

Our leader now lives out of town, about 2.5 hours away. So we give him $100 extra to put towards his fuel costs to get to the gig and back. So we split the money as follows.

 

$100 for me

$100 for the leader, both off the top.

 

Then we split the remainder 5 ways.

 

It works out.

 

 

I'm not sure what your power needs are, QSC are usually quite bullet proof, I'm betting you could find another RMX1450 for $200, and maybe even a 2450 to replace the other amp for $200 ish as well on craigslist...

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I fix all our band gear, but if I need to lay out cash, it comes from gig money and everyone is cool with that because we all need the PA.

I own some, the singer owns some.

 

It's worked well this way for my last few bands, although in my last band the other guitarist cried when some drunk chick knocked over his Les paul, snapping the headstock, and whined until we chipped in gig money to get it fixed.

 

He should have gotten the money from the drunk chick or the bar but he was too much of a {censored}.

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the reality seems to be that you need to just replace the amps and keep on chuggin. Its prolly your cheapest option. How much will that cost you? to be honest I would never go in on a group purchase for gear. I would be more apt to just buy a component to get the band running and own the thing myself.

yep. Watts are dirt cheap these days!

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Mike... as you know we've group-owned our PA for several years and it's been successful. In 2005, we were at the same crossroads with failing gear. Our choices were to either group purchase a capable PA or hire professional sound for every show (which in those days averaged 5-6 per month). Surprisingly most everyone was on board with the group purchase... and I have to say in every respect it really pulled together the band. It was really the turning point for the band to continue as a hobby or as a business. We got a low interest credit card, spent $7000 and had it paid off completely within a year. We took one entire show per month and paid the card. We set up a 3 year depreciation/reimbursement plan in case anyone was fired or planned to leave. Only one member left in that 3 year period and we paid him back 50% of his investment.

 

 

This plan worked for us because #1- we had enough monthly shows to support paying off a PA in a timely manner. #2- We were making enough as a band that the purchase price wasn't severely impacting our pay. In fact it came at a time we were increasing our pay and owning a professional PA put in a position where we felt we in an even better position to negotiate pay (our PA was better than most rooms with house PA's we played in). Eventually down the road we bought a van ($10,000), trailer ($3000) lights ($3000)... I think I added it up with the cost of ownership, maintenance and purchase and we've spent a total of $50K on band communal expenses. Of course that covers more than 500 shows... which at $250-300 a pop to rent sound... well do the math. ;)

 

I'm just feeling with the frequency of your shows and the level of pay you're earning now (not to mention line up changes) a band owned PA is not the right move for you guys at this stage. I think it will cause some strife somewhere: the band member who is resisting the band purchase is an indicator. The painful part... in two years he'll probably be the one current member who won't be around. :facepalm: You can either replace the power amps or sell the current PA and go with hired sound. As you said it will impact your take significantly, however you'll have zero worry about running sound, managing it, storing it and transporting it. That in itself could be a big incentive.

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Mike... as you know we've group-owned our PA for several years and it's been successful. In 2005, we were at the same crossroads with failing gear. Our choices were to either group purchase a capable PA or hire professional sound for every show (which in those days averaged 5-6 per month). Surprisingly most everyone was on board with the group purchase... and I have to say in every respect it really pulled together the band. It was really the turning point for the band to continue as a hobby or as a business. We got a low interest credit card, spent $7000 and had it paid off completely within a year. We took one entire show per month and paid the card. We set up a 3 year depreciation/reimbursement plan in case anyone was fired or planned to leave. Only one member left in that 3 year period and we paid him back 50% of his investment.



This plan worked for us because #1- we had enough monthly shows to support paying off a PA in a timely manner. #2- We were making enough as a band that the purchase price wasn't severely impacting our pay. In fact it came at a time we were increasing our pay and owning a professional PA put in a position where we felt we in an even better position to negotiate pay (our PA was better than most rooms with house PA's we played in). Eventually down the road we bought a van ($10,000), trailer ($3000) lights ($3000)... I think I added it up with the cost of ownership, maintenance and purchase and we've spent a total of $50K on band communal expenses. Of course that covers more than 500 shows... which at $250-300 a pop to rent sound... well do the math.
;)

I'm just feeling with the frequency of your shows and the level of pay you're earning now (not to mention line up changes) a band owned PA is not the right move for you guys at this stage. I think it will cause some strife somewhere: the band member who is resisting the band purchase is an indicator. The painful part... in two years he'll probably be the one current member who won't be around.
:facepalm:
You can either replace the power amps or sell the current PA and go with hired sound. As you said it will impact your take significantly, however you'll have zero worry about running sound, managing it, storing it and transporting it. That in itself could be a big incentive.

 

Its a no brainer decision. get some amps. You and amy need to start stashing some money for new gear in the future.

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